Metalworking is a fine profession to take up, but if you want to build a fully fledged business around it then you’ll need to procure various pieces of equipment.
The suitability of metalworking gear will depend on your skills and the types of projects you intend to take on, so here’s an overview of the different types of machinery that might be appropriate.
The evolution of laser cutting tech has occurred over several decades, and today the latest machines are able to manipulate various non-reflective metals and other materials. Along with cutting, laser machinery can be used to etch and engrave workpieces.
When people need to dip into their emergency fund for car repairs, welding is often required, and it’s a popular way to attach two pieces of metal together with a strong, durable bond. There are various varieties of welding processes, including gas metal arc welding and flux cored arc welding.
With a lathe, rather than the toolhead turning, it’s the workpiece that’s rotated at high speeds instead. In the right hands, a lathe can be used to make everything from engagement rings to aerospace components, and modern examples deploy a degree of automation to improve accuracy and reduce waste.
A bandsaw uses a saw blade moving at high speed to cut through metal and other materials. And because they come in various shapes and sizes, you can find bandsaws that are compact enough for home metalworking projects, or large enough to take on industrial-scale tasks.
Not all metalworking techniques involve removing material; some are based around reshaping it, which is exactly what a press brake does to sheet metal. You can find a listing of used press brakes for sale, which makes buying one more affordable if you’ve got a limited budget for your business.
Don’t be fooled by the name, as a drill press is quite different from a press brake. It’s a piece of equipment that lets you drill holes in materials that are held securely on the workbed, and once again precision is the aim here, going above and beyond what could be achieved with a handheld tool.
If you want to finish off the surface of metal that you’ve been working on, for instance after cutting or welding, then you can neaten up edges and smooth out any roughness with the assistance of a die grinder. Both electrical and pneumatically operated examples are available, and it’s really down to personal preference which you pick.
Don’t be put off by the slightly infantilizing title of this piece of equipment, because a metal nibbler means business. It’s a quick and efficient way of cutting sheet metals without needing to get them up onto a larger machine, as most models are handheld, and toolheads can be swapped out to double up as a drill as well.
Modern mills really are technological marvels. They can be fed designs and be put to work to transform solid blocks of metal into beautiful and intricate components, without needing much input from human operators in the process. This does mean that they come at a price, and the higher end models are really only suitable for larger operations with big budgets.
With metalworking, it’s a good idea to smart small but dream big. Get equipment that you already know how to use from previous professional experiences, and gradually build up as your operations grow so that you can accommodate the needs of more clients without overstretching.
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